Isuzu’s 2023 D-MAX range has been bolstered with the introduction of the 1.9-litre SX Crew Cab 4×4 ute. Part of a four pronged line-up with the smaller motor, it’s identical in every other aspect to the turbocharged 3.0-litre version, aside from the engine of course.
In this case, the workhorse entry-level model boasts the more frugal RZ4E-TC powerplant, delivering 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. It delivers good punch to get you off the line and won’t leave you wanting more when dragging loads from site to site.
On the freeway it effortlessly ticks over at cruising speed and it gives very good response when looking for a bit of get up and go when overtaking. The biggest boon for the 1.9-litre engine though is its fuel economy.
Isuzu claims 6.9-litres/100km and we managed 8.5-litres/100km in real world testing. Those figures will rise a little if towing, with this model offering 3.0-tonne of hauling capability.
While the slight drop in braked towing (the 3.0-litre offers 3.5-tonne) is a sacrifice, it’s outweighed by the economy on offer, making it an attractive prospect for fleet buyers. Priced at $50,200 plus on-roads, there’s a lot of value this ute.
It comes with a plethora safety tech too, thanks to Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS), giving you collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep and departure assist.
In the cab, the touchscreen display is a smaller version of the one on offer in the top-of-the-range models, but still features all the good stuff, like voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and DAB+ digital radio.
Operation is equally as simple from the wheel-mounted controls or the touchscreen. The four-speaker stereo system, while basic, has good sound quality, and the rear camera has superb clarity, day or night.
There’s plenty of storage areas within the cabin as well, with the most useable the pockets in the front doors, followed by the large tub in the centre console, with various other nooks and crannies spread about the space.
Most are purposeful, like the mobile phone holder next to the charge point at the back of the centre console, while the pretty but odd-sized pocket above the glovebox will quickly be filled with drill bits and Bunnings receipts.
The interior is a mix of well-finished, hard-wearing plastic and rubber, with a combination of fabric seats and accents, and lots of dirt-masking black surfaces. There is plenty of room around the front two seats too.
There’s also a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column to ensure you get your driving position just right. In the rear, the legroom isn’t as generous, but it’s nothing to complain about either. USB charging points front and rear will also keep things juiced up.
An auxiliary and 12V/120W power source will likewise keep the fridge chilled and tunes going. On the outside, the hard-wearing but visually appealing finish continues with matte surfaces in areas more susceptible to damage on the body panels.
This ensures scuffs and scratches don’t stand out. If there’s a downside to this good looking ute, it’s the silver finish on the wheels. Parked next to a similar-spec HiLux, there was a lot to be said for a splash of black paint on the rims to improve the overall look.
That aside, it’s some of the added functionality that makes the D-MAX a winner. The tailgate operation for example, will be a godsend for many. Assisted by gas struts, opening and closing is light and easy. It’s lockable too.
Team that with the optional hard tonneau cover fitted to our test vehicle, and you get a waterproof, secure space to store your gear. At $3,400 extra, it may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth considering as an alternative to a purpose-built canopy.
Available in Mineral White (as tested), Neptune Blue Mica, Basalt Black Mica, Mercury Silver Metallic and Obsidian Grey Mica, the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX SX Crew Cab 4×4 Ute comes with a 6-year 150,000km warranty, 7-years roadside assist and 7-years capped price servicing.
While this variant in particular is more likely to appeal to business or fleet buyers, the 1.9-litre version of the SX Crew Cab makes a lot of sense. With a three-tonne towing capacity, great fuel economy and a heap of tech, it’s a lot of machine for the price.
Our test vehicle was provided by Isuzu Ute Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX SX Crew Cab 4×4 Ute, contact your local Isuzu dealer.